fbpx

Ski and snowboard Japan's 'snow country' only 70 mins from Tokyo

Join us for an authentic Japan experience as we explore the resorts in Yuzawa aka ‘Snow Country’. This region consists of three prefectures located just a few hundred kilometres northwest of Tokyo. Along with having over 20 different resorts to ride, Yuzawa also offers a very authentic Japanese experience. We stay in a luxury ryokan where you’ll experience Japanese hospitality (omotenashi), dine on multi-course kaiseki dinners and breakfasts, relax at the end of the day in the open-air onsen (hot spring) and sample the best local sake. From our luxury ryokan we set out each day to chase the snow and there’s a good reason this area is known as ‘Snow Country’. The surrounding alpine ranges regularly receive heavy snow during winter.

Our tour base is in the heart of Echigo Yuzawa township which allows us to explore multiple ski areas from the inter-connected resorts of Naeba and Kagura in the south, through to the relatively undiscovered powder spots of Joetsu Kokusai and Hakkaisan in the north of Yuzawa. The snowboarding and skiing in this part of Japan is unlike other zones within Honshu. The air currents coming off the Sea of Japan collect moisture that hits the cold alpine ranges, such as Naeba, Kagura and Tanigawa Dake, where air quickly cools and dumps heavy snow across the region. This unique weather pattern ensures Yuzawa has one of the highest annual snowfalls in Japan.

Dates

24 January - 30 January, 2021

Guest to Guide Ratio

6 guests : 1 guide

Price

AUD $2,990 per person

Currency Convertor

Tour Type

Suitable for intermediate snowboarders and skiers

Why Travel With Mint

In a rapidly changing travel industry it’s important to know that your travel provider is accredited, accountable and responsible. We are a registered member of AFTA and IATA and conduct business in accordance with the ATAS Charter and Code of Conduct. When you travel with Mint you can have peace of mind that you are booking with a qualified and established travel operator with over 20 years of expertise. And as a full-service travel agent, we are able to take care of your flights, insurance, stopovers and pre or post tour arrangements.

Highlights

Omotenashi

For an authentic Japan experience we stay in a luxury ryokan where you'll experience Japanese hospitality (omotenashi).

Highlights

Local food and sake

Your tour includes expertly prepared, multi-course kaiseki dinners and breakfasts and you'll get to sample the best local sake.

Highlights

Onsen

Our ryokan has multiple onsen; 4 open-air baths, 2 indoor baths and a private bath. Onsen are the perfect way to start your day and for recovery after a big day snowboarding and skiing.

Highlights

Local knowledge

Our lead guide Kei will help you explore Yuzawa like a local, from the best snow through to local sake and karaoke sessions.

Yuzawa Snow Country Tour

Get in touch for a detailed tour itinerary and more info

ABOUT YUZAWA

The historical 900 year old Yuzawa township is accessed by the Echigo-Yuzawa and Gala-Yuzawa stations on the Jōetsu Shinkansen line taking only 70 - 80 minutes from Tokyo Station. The Yuzawa 'Snow Country' region is also known for its onsen (hot springs), with baths located at the ski areas, ryokans and even the shinkansen stations. Local tip - When you arrive be sure not to miss the Echigo-Yuzawa Station sake vending machines.

WHERE WE RIDE

The popular southern ski areas around Yuzawa include; Naeba, Tashiro, Kagura, NASPA Ski Garden, Iwappara, Yuzawa Park Resort, Kandatsu Kogen, Yuzawa Nakazato, Nakazato Snow Wood, Ludens, Ipponsugi, Yuzawa Kogen, and GALA Yuzawa which boasts it's own shinkansen station. The northern area of Yuzawa is home to the lesser known ski areas including; Ishiuchi Maruyama, Ishiuchi Hanaoka, Maiko, Granview, Chateau Shiozawa, Joetsu Kokusai, Muica, Itsukamachi, Hakkaisanroku and the backcountry zone of Hakkaisan.

ACCOMMODATION

Our luxury ryokan is centrally located to many of the ski areas we visit. The modern Japanese rooms are equipped with 2 single beds, great heating, private ensuite bathroom, TV, and free WiFi. Included daily is a buffet breakfast and traditional Japanese kaisieki multi-course dinners that use ingredients from the local Echigo Yuzawa region. After a big day skiing and snowboarding, there's nothing better than soaking in one of the hotel's multiple open-air hot spring baths including the private 'danran' onsen.

SNOW & CONDITIONS

Mid January to mid February is the best time of winter to ski and snowboard in the Snow Country. Although the region records some of the highest annual snowfalls in Japan, the snow quality is generally heavier compared to Hokkaido and Tohoku. Average temperatures ranging from -1 to -10 degrees celsius. Most days you can expect to ride new snow that’s anywhere from boot to shin deep. However, don't be surprised if there's a mix of winter and spring conditions in the one day. But even if we don’t get fresh snow overnight, our local knowledge will ensure you’ll ride the best snow conditions on that day.

SMALL GROUPS

We offer one of the smallest client to guide ratio’s in the industry which ultimately leads to a better experience for everyone. Our small groups allow greater manoeuvrability and ease of access to the best areas a destination can offer. When we are on mountain, our guest to guide ratio is maximum 6 people per guide. This also makes for a more personal experience between our guests and guides.

PRE-TOUR SUPPORT

After you sign up for a tour, you will receive pre-trip emails with specific information about your tour, the arrival and departure day process, information about the destination, packing suggestions, and other relevant information to help you prepare for your trip. In addition to this, you have access to our customer care team who are just a phone-call away. And as a full-service travel agent, we are able to take care of your flights, insurance, stopovers and pre or post tour arrangements.

Meet your expert team

LOCAL GUIDES & PARTNERSHIPS

Mint opens doors around the globe. Our long-standing relationships with local guides, local legends, professional athletes, local businesses and resorts allow us special access to places and people. Travelling with us, you go behind the scenes to get a close-up view of each destination. You’re enriched by the knowledge of our experts and local guides.

Meet your expert team

Kei Ishiuchi

Kei is a snowboarding veteran with over 20+ years experience including stints as a test rider for Burton, editor of Japanese snowboarding magazines and head coach for multiple ski schools across Japan. Spend a day riding with Kei and you’ll see why our clients keep coming back to ride with him, season after season.

Meet your expert team

Ingemar Backman

If you don’t know who this legend of snowboarding is, we encourage you to type his name into Google and see how much of an influence this man has been on the progression of snowboarding. He set the record for the worlds’ highest air out of a quarter-pipe way back in ’96. After countless trips to Japan, Ingemar will be on board to share his many years of knowledge and experience.

ESSENTIAL INFO

Tour Inclusions

YOUR TOUR INCLUDES

 

  • Daily on-snow guiding with professional Mint Tours guides
  • Private transfers in 4WD vehicles to & from resorts
  • 6 nights twin share ensuite accommodation
  • 6 Japanese style breakfasts
  • 6 Japanese kaiseki dinners (no western options)
  • Arrival and departure day private transfers from Echigo Yuzawa Station
  • Cultural excursions
  • Fully-escorted tour, guides on hand throughout the tour
Tour Dates

All our Japan Tours are 6 nights and run from Sunday to Saturday. You’ll ride every resort mid-week to maximise your time on-snow and avoid the weekend day-trippers. If 6 nights isn’t enough, then book one of our multi-tour combo’s. Join us in Yuzawa, then start a new tour in a different destination the following day. Ask us about tour combo ideas and multi-tour discounts.


DATES     24 January – 30 January, 2021


PRO-TIP – GO PRIVATE!
Book this tour as a private departure – with your own guide and all the benefits of a Mint group tour – for any group, big or small (even just one traveller). Get in touch to discuss.

FAQ

WHY TRAVEL WITH MINT?
In a rapidly changing travel industry it’s important to know that your travel provider is accredited, accountable and responsible. Mint is a registered member of AFTA and IATA and conducts business in accordance with the ATAS Charter and Code of Conduct. When you travel with Mint you can have peace of mind that you are booking with a qualified and established travel operator with over 20 years of expertise. And as a full-service travel agent, we can take care of your flights, insurance, stopovers and pre-or post tour arrangements.


WHAT HAPPENS IF BORDERS ARE CLOSED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
The global health crisis has impacted everyone enormously, so we want to make sure your future travel plans are safe and reassure you that we are committed to supporting our customers in the best way that we can. You can view our latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates HERE


WHAT TYPE OF TOUR IS THIS?
This is a Freeride Tour, which offers you the best chance to ride deep, Japan powder. Our experienced guides have an in-depth knowledge of the resorts we visit, which gives you the ultimate advantage when your chasing deep, un-tracked snow. If conditions allow, we’ll aim to ride and ski a lot of powder, glades and trees so please be prepared to ride and ski in the trees. Of course weather and conditions are impossible to predict so guests must be prepared to ride or ski anything.


WHAT HAPPENS ON ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE DAY?
Once you’ve signed up for the tour we will send you through a comprehensive guide with details about the tour including the arrival and departure day process, a map of where we meet, recommended arrival and departure times, flight options, Visa requirements and transportation information.


WHAT IF I’M TRAVELLING SOLO?
About 99% of our guests are travelling solo, so you’ll be in good company. Our groups generally mix well due to a shared interest in snowsports and an eagerness to explore all that Japan has to offer. If you are travelling solo, you will be paired with another guest to room with. The accommodation for this tour is twin share i.e. 2 beds per room. If you’d prefer your own room please request a single room at time of booking.


HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON THIS TOUR?
Each tour is different, but we know that by offering one of the smallest client to guide ratio in the industry allows you to ski or snowboard at your preferred pace, and ultimately leads to a better experience for everyone. When we are on mountain, we have a maximum of 6 people per guide. This ensures you get the most out of your time with us, and keeping the groups small means less time waiting and more time riding powder.


IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR ME?
This tour is best suited to intermediate and above skiers and snowboarders who can link turns in powder snow, can make a variety of turn shapes and can traverse and hold speed. If you’re not sure, give us a call. Weather and ski conditions are impossible to predict so guests must be prepared to ride or ski anything.


WHICH RESORTS WILL WE VISIT?
We keep the tour itinerary flexible so you can ride at the best resort on the day. Each day your guide will make the decision on which resort to ride based on a number of factors including weather, snowfall, group ability and interest. Incredibly, Yuzawa has over 20 ski resorts we can access within easy reach of our centrally located hotel with terrain ranging from wide-open pistes, perfectly crafted terrain parks to deep untracked tree riding and skiing.


CAN I ARRIVE EARLY OR STAY ON AFTER THE TOUR?
For most tours you can arrive earlier or stay later. We can tailor the trip to suit your travel plans. Speak with one of our tour specialists when you are booking and they will be more than happy to assist.


WHO ARE THE GUIDES?
All of our tours are guided by friendly, knowledgeable and expertly trained guides who are passionate about the mountains. Most of our guides work for us season after season. If you have a preferred Mint guide, just let us know and we’ll be able to tell you which tours they are leading.


CAN YOU BOOK FLIGHTS?
Yes. Let us take the hassle out of selecting the right flights for the tour. We can book you the best flight options for the tour, with no booking fees.


ARE FLIGHTS INCLUDED?
No, flights are not included. If you need assistance booking flights, we can book you the best flight options for the tour, with no booking fees.


DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
Yes. All guests on tour need to be covered by comprehensive travel insurance. Once you have booked on the tour, we strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance. We offer all of our tour guests discounted snow specific travel insurance.


WHAT HAPPENS ONCE I’VE BOOKED?
Once you’ve booked your spot on tour, we will send you through a booking confirmation and provide updates about the tour including the arrival and departure day process, a map of where we meet, recommended arrival and departure times, flight options, Visa requirements and transportation information. We will send out a Pre Departure Guide 30 days prior to departure. Prior to the tour commencing we will invite you to a group chat which is managed by your tour manager and guides.


CAN I BRING MY PARTNER WHO DOESN’T SKI OR SNOWBOARD?
Of course! We can tailor the tour to suit your non-skiing or snowboarding partner. Speak with one of our tour specialists when you are booking and they will be more than happy to assist.


HOW DO I CHECK MY ABILITY LEVEL?
The best way to check if a tour is suited to your ability is by speaking with one of our tour specialists. They will be able to determine if the tour you have selected is a good fit for your ability, as well as suggesting other tour options.


HOW DO I GET TO YUZAWA?
We’ll provide you with a guide with options to get to Yuzawa. If it’s your fist time to Japan or if you’re unsure about travel arrangements, often we can link you up with other tour guests to travel with.


HOW DO I CHECK AVAILABILITY?
Speak with one of our tour specialists. As this is a small group tour with limited availability, it’s best to get in touch early to avoid disappointment.


DO YOU TAKE SKIERS & SNOWBOARDERS?
Yes! We are ski and snowboard friendly. Please note that the majority of our tours are led by snowboard guides.


CAN I RENT EQUIPMENT?
Yes! We can arrange rental equipment for most destinations, however we do recommend bringing your own equipment. We do recommend bringing powder boards or ski’s for all our Japan tours.


WHAT EQUIPMENT SHOULD I BRING?
Japan can be a cold place in winter, with temperatures typically ranging from 0 to -10. We strongly recommend that guests dress in clothing specific for traveling in backcountry areas. We recommend that guests have a good quality waterproof jacket and pants, lightweight insulated layer, merino base layers, merino gloves and waterproof gloves, goggles with low light & high light lenses, sunglasses, balaclava, beanie, and helmet. We recommend that all guests bring their own ski or snowboarding equipment for the tour (board, boots, bindings & outerwear). Powder boards and ski’s are recommended.


WHO WILL BE ON MY TOUR?
Your group will be made up of travellers from diverse backgrounds and will be varied in age. Our groups generally mix well due to a shared interest in snowsports and an eagerness to explore all that Japan has to offer.


ARE LIFT TICKETS INCLUDED?
There is no single lift ticket that covers all the resorts we ride; and we don’t want to lock you in to pre-purchasing lift tickets so you have to ride certain resorts. You can just purchase a lift ticket on the day, wherever we may end up. This means we can travel far and wide to score you the best snow; from the major resorts, to the smaller hidden gems.

Price and Payment

PRICE PER PERSON
The Yuzawa Snow Country Tour is AUD $2,990

Pricing is in Australian Dollars and based on twin share accommodation. Please contact us if you would like a quote in your local currency. We can accept payments in USD, AUD, NZD, GBP, CHF, EUR, JPY, CAD.


SINGLE SHARE SUPPLEMENTS
A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this tour. The single supplement applies to all nights on your tour and is subject to availability. Please speak to your tour specialist for further information.


RESERVATION AND DEPOSIT
To secure your spot on tour, a non-refundable 25% deposit is payable within 3 days of booking. The balance is due 90 days prior to tour departure. You can view our terms and conditions HERE and COVID-19 policy HERE

Enquiries and Bookings

If you would like some more information or a quote for the tour you can contact us by:

1. ONLINE
Enquire below. Once we receive your request one of our Japan Tour Specialists will be in touch with a with a quote, availability and further details about the tour.

Enquire


2. OVER THE PHONE 
Call us and follow the prompts to speak to one of our Japan Tour specialists.

Within Australia (03) 8563 9437
International +61 (03) 8563 9437

Enquire